Nigerian Jailed In The US For Over N1 Billion Fraud
Emmanuel Ehkator, 42, has been sentenced to 3 years in prison by a District Court Judge in the District of Pennsylvania, United States for $11m fraud. Ehkator was also investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for criminal conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. The accused has been ordered by the court to pay $11,092,028 “in restitution” to his victims.
Ehkator’s property in Canada and the “contents of several bank accounts” in Nigeria were also declared forfeited by Justice Yvette Kane.
The EFCC Head, Media and Publicity, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, said the commission had in August 2010, arrested Emmanuel Ehkator in Nigeria and was subsequently extradited to the US a year after following his plea of guilt.
It was revealed that Ehkator was part of an “attorney collection scam” in which he would contact US and Canadian law firms by email claiming to be individuals or businesses outside North America owed money by entities in the US and asked for legal representation to collect money…
The prosecutor had said, “Often, the prospective clients said the money owed came from a real estate transaction, tort claim, or divorce settlement. Once the law firm agreed to represent the out-of-country client, the law firm would be contacted by the US entity purportedly owing money with an offer to pay the client by cheque.
“The debtor company would advise the law firm to deposit the cheque in the law firm’s trust account, retain the law firm’s fee, and wire the remaining funds to accounts in Asia.”
It was learnt that after funds from the law firm’s trust account had been wired to the Asian bank, it would then be discovered that the cheque that had been mailed to the law firm was a counterfeit.
The counterfeit cheques, which appeared to be drawn on legitimate accounts from well-established financial institutions, often included a telephone number for the financial institution.
In an attempt to determine the validity of the cheque, lawyers would call the number only to reach another conspirator who would falsely verify the cheque.
Ehkator’s co-defendant, Yvette Mathurin, was said to have been charged for conspiracy and was awaiting extradition from Canada. Another co-conspirator, Kingsley Osagie, was arrested as he arrived in the Atlanta, Georgia area from Nigeria and was said to be currently awaiting trial in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.